With themes of rebirth and creation weaving together choral masterworks by Bach, Monteverdi, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and Verdi, and a rich contrast of guest concerts ranging from baroque winds to the Canadian Brass to a big-band tribute to Duke Ellington, the Oregon Bach Festival's first season under the artistic directorship of Matthew Halls will be as diverse as the conductor's own musical passions.
The 45th season of the University of Oregon's cultural gem takes place June 26-July 13 in Eugene,Portland, Corvallis, Florence, and Newport. Halls, who succeeded Helmuth Rilling as artistic director July 15, 2013, launches his inaugural season with Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers. He'll also direct the world premiere of his own reconstruction of Bach's lost St. Mark Passion, completed
in collaboration with Zurich-based scholar and organist Dominik Sackmann. The St. Mark and
Monteverdi concerts will be presented both in Eugene and in Portland as part of the Festival's BachFest PDX series. Both will be presented in period-performance style (a theme that runs through the Festival's first week) with Halls directing OBF's newly formed period instrument orchestra.
In Eugene, Halls will also lead the Discovery Series lecture concerts on Bach's Easter Oratorio
and an Easter cantata, and he'll conduct Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil in a late-night candlelit performance, and, in the Festival finale, the Verdi Requiem. The season's vocal soloists include: soprano Tamara Wilson, mezzo soprano Jamie Barton and bass-baritone Shenyang (both winners of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition), and tenor Russell Thomas, who, like Wilson, was a first-prize winner of Spain's prestigious Vias competition. Other artists and programs in the major concert lineup:
- Pianist Gabriela Montero (in Eugene and Portland) in solo recitals and in collaboration with the Eugene Ballet Company, for their triplebill program on the theme of "Creation."
- The Canadian Brass, in both children's and main event concerts.
- His Majestys Sagbutt and Cornetts, performing music of the 16th and 17th centuries on distinctive wind instruments of the time.
- Baroque cellist Jonathan Manson, in a recital of Bach and Gabrielli.
- The Portland Baroque Orchestra, touring five cities with an "anniversaries" concert of 18th century music by C.P.E. Bach, JeanPhillipe Rameau, and Pietro Locatelli.
- A tribute to Duke Ellington and the Harlem Jazz Craze, with emcee Jamie Bernstein, conductor Michael Barrett, and Portland's Art Abrams Swing Machine.
- Two concerts celebrating the Richard Strauss 150th anniversary: chamber music featuring leading OBF instrumentalists, and a song soiree featuring soprano Tamara Wilson, tenor Nicholas Phan, and baritone Tyler Duncan.
- Grammy Awardwinning organist Paul Jacobs, in a duo program with trumpeter Guy Few and solo recitals in both Eugene and Portland.
- OBF Director Emeritus Helmuth Rilling, returning to conduct Mozart's Requiem and Symphony No. 40, to lead two Discovery lecture-concerts, and deliver the annual Hinkle Distinguished Lecture.
The Festival also launches a new Organ Institute, directed by Paul Jacobs, involving seminars and a public concert; and a "Conductors Showcase" concert added to its flagship Conducting Master Class program. With nine concerts set for the BachFest PDX Portland series, 34 main-event ticketed concerts, and a schedule of more than 60 total events including talks, exhibitions, and free concerts, the 2014 OBF will be the organization's most ambitious.
Tickets to individual performances are on sale now. For more information visit the OBF website.